(January 18, 2022 / JNS) The Secure Community Network—the safety and security organization of the Jewish community—launched a new training program to help protect community members from violence in the aftermath of the Texas hostage crisis that took place on Jan. 15 during Shabbat.
“As we saw in Texas, we cannot pick the time and date of the next incident that will impact our community, but we can choose to prepare,” said CEO Michael Masters. “A critical component of preparing is training.”
On Saturday, a British gunman held four members of Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, a suburb of Fort Worth, hostage for nearly 11 hours. The congregants, including Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, ultimately escaped unharmed. The 44-year-old attacker was shot and killed by law enforcement.
The new program, called “Be Aware,” is meant to provide participants with an improved ability to recognize suspicious behavior and criminal activity, guidance on how to report it, and strategies to protect themselves and others from violence, according to a release by SCN.
The training is interactive, can be taken in person or online, and should help people be better able to recognize and react to dangerous situations in their everyday lives—from going to synagogue and dropping off children at school to stopping at a gas station or ATM.
“This training will provide crucial skills the Jewish community needs to stay safe,” said Masters, adding that it was designed by security professionals who specifically worked within the Jewish community in collaboration with U.S. law enforcement.
Last year, SCN trained 17,000 community members. This new program is expected to increase that number.
An online preview of the training will take place on Jan. 27 at 1 p.m. EST. Participants can register online.
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